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Talking with Grandkids: Tips & Techniques

Young grandchildren may not be the best conversationalists in the world, but grandparents need to practice their communication skills too. Here are recommended techniques for talking to grandchildren of all ages:

Under 1 year:
If your grandchild is very young, you can still communicate by making silly faces, smiles, coos or even playing peek-a-boo games that make babies giggle with delight! And even though they can't talk, they love to be read to at this age.

If your grandchild is a toddler, ask lots of questions – they will love to engage with you in conversation! Try to be available to talk when the child wants to. If you are unavailable right away, find time as soon as possible. A child reaching out offers you precious moments that may not come at a “more convenient” time.

School Age:
Give your full attention and get down to their level. Make direct eye contact that draws the child to you, and screen out as many interruptions as you can. Try not to dominate the discussion.At least half of any conversation with a grandchild should be spent listening. You can ask your grandchild to teach you something. This will help the child feel valuable and grown-up. Also ask for their help reading a map, rearranging a cupboard or putting together puzzles.

Older Grandchildren:
If you have older grandchildren, ask them for their opinions and views on current issues like politics and things they would like to do in the future. Listen closely, engage in their interests, and discuss their reasoning so they learn to process ideas from start to finish.

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